Teen using a smartphone.
The South Korean researchers were scheduled to present their findings Thursday at the annual meeting of the Radiological Society of North America, in Chicago. This is a problem because according to recent data from the Pew Research Center, up to 46 percent of Americans said that they could no longer function without their smartphones.
We can find many people glued to a small electronic device here and there.
"There have been various examinations distributed [that link] dependence on liquor and different substances with chemical imbalances in various areas of the brain, yet this is the main study I've perused about web fixation" that shows such a connection, Wintermark revealed to Live Science.
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The study involved 19 young people - with an average age of 15.5 years - who have been diagnosed with internet or smartphone addiction and 19 people of the same age and gender distribution.
"The good news is that the chemical imbalance in addicted people significantly decreased or normalised after cognitive behavioral therapy".
Through standardized tests, multiple questions were put in front of the people to analyze how smartphone and internet affect their daily routine, sleeping patterns, social life, etc.
The study "adds some scientific evidence that excessive use of these smartphones is having an impact in the brain which might be similar to other addictive disorders", said Dr. Edwin Salsitz, an addiction medicine specialist with Mount Sinai Beth Israel in New York City.
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The teenagers who were addicted to their smartphones and the internet, were found to have higher scores for tests that tracked depression, anxiety, the severity of insomnia, and their impulsivity. Compared to the healthy controls, smartphone addicts had higher ratio of two brain chemicals: gamma aminobutyric acid (GABA) and glutamate-glutamine (Glx). These increased ratios of Glx and GABA were significantly correlated with the clinical scales of smartphone and internet addictions, depression and anxiety. Too much of it may result in anxiety and drowsiness. Additionally, Seo believed that these increased levels could be related to the functional loss of integration and regulations of processing in the cognitive and emotional neural network.
"The increased GABA levels and disrupted balance between GABA and glutamate in the anterior cingulate cortex may contribute to our understanding the pathophysiology of and treatment for addictions".
Co-authors are Eun-Kee Jeong, Ph.D., Sungwon Choi, Yunna Kwon, Hae-Jeong Park, and InSeong Kim.
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